New display revealed at Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery Education Center
Guests celebrated lake sturgeon, Wisconsin’s largest and longest-lived fish, and the people who have revered and protected this ancient species at an Aug. 10 unveiling of a new display at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery Education Center. Welcoming remarks featured Department of Natural Resources, Menominee Tribe, and Sturgeon for Tomorrow officials.
“We want people to join us in celebrating the opening of a new exhibit celebrating Lake Sturgeon in Wisconsin and the people who were instrumental in ensuring the legacy of this iconic fish,” says Theresa Stabo, the DNR exhibit coordinator.
Sturgeon are one of the oldest vertebrates on earth; they swam in lakes and rivers 100 to 200 million years ago, when dinosaurs lumbered along the shores. Lake Sturgeon in Wisconsin can grow to more than seven feet and live more than 150 years.
For thousands of years, the fish has been revered by the Winnebago, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Oneida, and Sauk tribes. By 1900, however, harvesting by European settlers, dam building, and pollution had reduced their numbers to ten percent of what it was before Wisconsin’s statehood in 1848.
Wisconsin is regarded as a national and international leader in sturgeon protection, restoration, and research. While the well-known Winnebago System is home to the world’s largest self-sustaining population of Lake Sturgeon, harvested by spearing, Wisconsin also offers a hook-and-line season on multiple major rivers with healthy, growing populations. In locations where sturgeon populations are not as strong, DNR and partners are working to rebuild sturgeon populations. Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery plays an important role in those efforts, rearing lake sturgeon for restoration stocking.
The exhibit was funded by Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the DNR, and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. The Wisconsin Humanities Council also provided funding for the exhibit as well as a public lecture series on several Saturdays following the opening.
The public lectures, all to occur at the Wild Rose Hatchery Education Center, N5871 State Road 22, in Wild Rose are as follows: Aug. 18—Propagating Lake Sturgeon - A history and update on hatchery operations; Sept. 1—Hook ‘n Line and Spearing - Opportunities, Equipment and Tactics; Sept. 15—Indigenous Perspectives on Lake Sturgeon; Sept 29—Lake Sturgeon Biology - Wisconsin’s Current Lake Sturgeon Populations and Distribution; Oct. 13—Citizen Partnerships.
For more information search the DNR website for “Wild Rose.”